The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-8-0-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, reignited their in-state rivalry with the Hartford Wolf Pack (5-6-1-0) last weekend, but fell 5-2 despite staying close midway through the third period on Saturday.
It was Bridgeport’s only game of the week and its first contest in nine days, which ended one of the longest mid-season layoffs in team history. Cole Bardreau scored both Sound Tigers’ goals to keep things interesting, but the Wolf Pack matched a season high with five tallies and evened the series at two wins apiece.
It was Bardreau’s fifth career multi-goal performance in the AHL and his first since Apr. 6, 2019, while Tom Kuhnhackl and Jeff Kubiak also found the scoresheet with an assist. Jakub Skarek (1-6-0) made 32 saves on 37 shots against (tying an AHL career high in shots faced).
The Sound Tigers have averaged just one game every 4.6 days since the regular season began on Feb. 5th, but things will heat up starting this week as the club will play 11 games over the next month.
Bridgeport has two home games coming up this Wednesday and Friday, hosting the Providence Bruins (11-3-1-0) and Wolf Pack respectively. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. both days and fans can follow all of the live action via AHLTV or the Sound Tigers Radio Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 12:45 p.m.
The Week Ahead
Wednesday, Mar. 31 vs. Providence Bruins (1 p.m.): The Sound Tigers look to snap a three-game dry spell against the Bruins and a five-game winless in regulation streak overall when they return to Webster Bank Arena. Wednesday’s game marks the eighth of 12 meetings between the division rivals and the fourth of six matchups in Bridgeport. Providence leads the season series 6-1-0-0.
Friday, Apr. 2 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (1 p.m.): The Sound Tigers face Hartford for the fifth time this season and the third of six matchups in the Park City. The home team has won each of the four meetings so far, including Bridgeport’s 4-3 overtime victory on Mar. 18th, in which Otto Koivula played hero just 29 seconds in. Rookie defenseman Samuel Bolduc has a series-high five points (three goals, two assists) and has scored a goal in three of the four meetings.
Cole’s Goals: Cole Bardreau became the first Sound Tigers player to score multiple goals in the same game this season when he lit the lamp twice on Saturday in Hartford. It was his fifth career two-goal performance in the AHL and his first since Apr. 6, 2019 while playing with Lehigh Valley. Bardreau now leads the Sound Tigers in goals (five), shooting percentage (27.8-percent, min. 10 shots) and co-leads the team in points (seven). He also leads Bridgeport with three multi-point games.
Going Streaking: Tom Kuhnhackl assisted on Bridgeport’s opening goal last weekend and extended his point streak to three games (one goal, two assists), matching the longest streak for the team this season. Samuel Bolduc also had points in three straight games from Feb. 7th - Feb. 17th. Kuhnhackl darted through the neutral zone and sent a shot hard off the end wall, which bounced in front for Bardreau’s finish. Kuhnhackl has four points (one goal, three assists) in his last six games and is one of seven players to appear in every contest for Bridgeport this season.
The Rough Atlantic: All three teams in this year’s Atlantic Division rank inside the top six in the AHL in penalty minutes per game. Bridgeport is sixth with 12.45 penalty minutes per game, while Providence (15.07) and Hartford (14.25) are both in the top four. The Sound Tigers’ penalty kill has been strong for most of the season and currently ranks sixth in the AHL at home (85.7-percent).
Golyshev Agrees to Terms: The Islanders announced on Friday, Mar. 19th that Anatolii Golyshev, their fourth-round draft pick in 2016, has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal for the 2020-21 season and was subsequently loaned to the Sound Tigers. He has not yet joined the team. Golyshev notched 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 53 games with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) earlier this season and ranked fifth on team in scoring. The Perm, Russia native had 208 points (103 goals, 105 assists) in 366 career games with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg over parts of eight seasons in the KHL.
Quick Hits: Friday’s game is the first of 10 contests in April - Bridgeport’s busiest month this season… Seven of those 10 games will be against Hartford, including four straight from Apr. 7th - Apr. 17th… Parker Wotherspoon is expected to play his 200th pro game next Monday, Apr. 5th against Providence… Tanner Fritz is tied for fourth place on the team’s all-time assists list (89) with Steven Regier (2004-08)… Fritz is 11 assists behind Aaron Ness (2010-15) for third place and also three points behind Trent Hunter (2001-03) for eighth place on the team’s all-time scoring list… Francis Marotte was loaned to the Allen Americans (ECHL) on Friday and made 27 saves in a 5-2 win against Rapid City later that night.
Across the Sound: The New York Islanders (22-9-4, 2nd place) complete a four-game road trip and their March schedule with a 7 p.m. rematch against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. The Islanders fell to Pittsburgh on Saturday, 6-3, despite former Sound Tiger Anthony Beauvillier’s fourth goal in as many games. Beauvillier also had a pair of overtime-winning goals last week. The Isles are two points behind the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the MassMutual East Division through 35 games. They’ll face Washington twice during their upcoming six-game homestand, which begins Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.